Restored to mark its 50th Anniversary, Chimes at Midnight is a characteristically pioneering work by Welles and a film he considered amongst his own personal favourites.
On the brink of Civil War, King Henry IV (John Gielgud) attempts to consolidate his reign while fretting with unease over his son’s seeming neglect of his royal duties. Hal (Keith Baxter), the young Prince, openly consorts with Sir John Falstaff (Orson Welles) and his company of “Diana’s foresters, Gentlemen of the shade, Minions of the moon”.
Hal’s friendship with the fat knight substitutes for his estrangement from his father. Both Falstaff and the King are old and tired; both rely on Hal for comfort in their final years, while the young Prince, the future Henry V, nurtures his own ambitions.
A post-screening discussion led by Maggie Hoffgen will follow the screening of Chimes at Midnight on Wed 29 July.